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More than 100 community members gather for Isabel Celis memorial service

Posted at 5:21 PM, Apr 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-29 20:21:18-04

It's been about a month since Isabel Celis' remains were found in rural Pima County -- five years after she disappeared from her Tucson home. Saturday morning, more than a hundred members of the Tucson community showed up for her memorial service at the St. Augustine Cathedral, downtown.

So many questions surrounding her disappearance and death still remain unanswered; however, those were all put aside Saturday morning as the community honored her.

"We're here to celebrate Isa, her life. It was certainly a short life, it was very sad that it was a short life," family friend Catherine Krumpos said. "But, those questions will be answered someday, but today was more for celebrating her."

Many of the people at the memorial service with close, personal relationships with the Celis family. However, others with no relation showed up as well -- as the tragic event struck a nerve throughout the community.

Her mother Becky Celis, thanked the outpouring support from the Tucson community during the memorial service. She said she wanted everyone to remember her daughter, Isabel, with a smile on her face.

Ramona Grijalva, who knew the family, certainly did.

"Oh, a beautiful child!" she said. 

She, too, was amazed by the amount of community support.

"I can't always express how I feel," Grijalva said. "The words are there but they won't come out because I can feel the emotion, it's a strong emotion."

To cap off the service, everyone came together outside the cathedral for a ceremonial balloon release.

Another attendee -- Richard Grijalva, a deacon at the St. Joseph's Church. He explained he knew the family before and after their daughter went missing, and stressed the community support is crucial for them during this difficult time.

"How can I tell them that their daughter is in a better place? We know that she is in a better place," he said. "But it's hard for them to accept."

Grijalva and many others at the memorial service, offering to continue to be a shoulder the Celis family can lean on for support.